Groupon, the red-hot group-coupon startup out of Chicago, just bought its European counterpart, Citydeal, to jump-start its international expansion.Groupon now has 900 employees in 18 countries — 600 staffers as part of this acquisition — serving up local deals in 140 cities.
“Not bad for 19 months’ work!” says Groupon CEO Andrew Mason, whose company is now worth over $1 billion.
Terms of the deal not disclosed.
Here’s the blog post Mason published today to announce the deal. Don’t miss our tour of Groupon’s Chicago offices!
Today we’re announcing something really, really big – Groupon is now in Europe via the acquisition of Citydeal, the world’s largest Groupon clone. That means we’re operating in 18 countries, 140 cities, and we have over 900 employees in about a dozen offices across two continents. Not bad for 19 months’ work! In addition to the US and Canada, you’ll now find Groupon in [Germany](http://www.citydeal.de), [England](http://www.mycitydeal.de), [Ireland](http://www.citydeal.ie), [France](http://www.citydeal.fr), [the Netherlands](http://www.mycitydeal.nl), [Spain](http://www.citydeal.es), [Italy](http://www.citydeal.it), [Switzerland](http://www.citydeal.ch), [Austria](http://www.citydeal.at), [Poland](http://www.citydeal.pl), [Finland](http://www.citydeal.fi), [Denmark](http://www.mycitydeal.dk), [Turkey](http://www.sehirfirsati.com), [Sweden](http://www.mycitydeal.se), and soon, Norway and Belgium. ### What it means To me, Groupon is one of those beautiful examples of what an early, uncharted, and exciting time this is in the age of the Internet – that such a simple concept could change the face of local commerce almost overnight. Since its launch in Berlin five months ago, Citydeal’s rapid growth across Europe has proven that the Groupon model is truly global – and by coming together, we are establishing Groupon as the company that not only invented, but now universally defines this new model of commerce. ### Why we did it this way We knew that bringing Groupon to Europe wouldn’t be easy. Just adapting Groupon to suit the differences between Miami and Philadelphia is enough of a challenge that we knew we wouldn’t be able to succeed in Europe without amazing entrepreneurs with an intimate understanding of the local cultures. With that in mind, we started meeting with the horde of European Groupon clones, looking for a team that do Groupon justice in Europe. Unfortunately, we found them to be very much like the American knockoffs – without the strategic vision or operational chops to do much more than watch us and play Simon Says. When we met Oliver Samwer – one of the founders of Citydeal – we were prepared for more of the same. Oliver and his two brothers are known for elevating the practice of cloning American business models in Europe into an art form, having successfully founded the German versions of eBay (eBay eventually bought them), Facebook, eHarmony, Zappos, and many more. But after a few days with Oliver and the rest of the Citydeal management team, we realised that they were among the best operators we’d ever met. It was no wonder they’d become #1 in every one of their countries – in only five months, they’d even become larger than the largest Groupon knockoff in the U.S. It’s absolutely insane how quickly they’ve scaled, with 600 employees working from 80+ European cities, and already saving their customers over $5 million in April alone – their fourth month of operation. Culturally, we saw the same qualities in the Citydeal team that we have at Groupon. Hardworking and scrappy, blindingly fast executors, refreshingly blunt, no appetite for petty politics, and passionate about pioneering a new model of commerce while wowing every last consumer and merchant they touched. For those reasons, we think Groupon and Citydeal are a great match. ### What happens now It’ll take months for us to fully integrate Citydeal onto the Groupon platform, but they will adopt our name and design very soon. Until we’re fully integrated, you’ll need a separate account to buy Groupons in, say, Paris and Wichita. For those of you who are already Citydeal consumers and merchants, welcome to Groupon! We have some amazing things planned over the next several months, but we’d also love to hear what you’d like us to do to make Groupon better – [send us your thoughts]()!